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Stock photos suck.

That’s the general refrain around the Web. It sucks more because you have to pay a nice premium to use the best stock photos. A valid criticism against stock photos says that they end up looking like each other – too generic they say.

The Web is increasingly visual…and increasingly personalized. As a blogger, a media communicator, a website designer, or even as a DIY wallpaper How To Turn Amateur Photos Into Stunning Wallpapers How To Turn Amateur Photos Into Stunning Wallpapers Don't you just love to take photos of picturesque scenery when you travel? I do. Read More designer sitting at home, you want to stand out from the crowd.

A few large-hearted photographers and visual creatives are  trying to distil the noise and bring something fresh to stock photography. They are also doing it for free. With their contributions to the large number of resources for free photographs 6 Free Websites For Public Domain Images & Free Stock Photos 6 Free Websites For Public Domain Images & Free Stock Photos Public Domain refers to material that is 'publicly available' and not covered by intellectual property or copyrights. In today's media, where visual art is abundant, there is a high demand for images, for example for... Read More , they make us understand one simple thing – finding a great photo isn’t that hard. Using that perfect photo can also come without sweat and without a cost.

The five photography sources below ease your hunt because you can simply subscribe to them with an email and wait for the collections to drop into your inbox. All are sources for high-resolution images. Begin the visual feast.

Death To The Stock Photo

Free photographs - Death To The stock Photo

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Here’s the first email list you can be on to receive free stock photos in your inbox. The stock photo agency brought a unique take when it launched. David Sherry, a brand strategist and photographer started the site with Allie Lehman, a designer and blogger. The website greets you with a collage-like interface, but then only an email box that asks you to sign-up. The founders say that they aim to be just like coffee for the modern creative. Coffee costs a few dollars – getting photos from here doesn’t.

Here’s an example:

Free photographs - Death To The stock Photo

Photos are high-res at nearly 5000 pixels. Yes, you can’t browse through any collections and categories to pick photos of your choice. What you get is almost a serendipitous pack of beautifully shot bunch of photos every month. It’s license free. The monthly pack usually follow a common theme. It could be cycling in Seattle or a theme around live music. If you are learning photography, their photos are also a lesson on how to make the ordinary look hip and cool.

Unsplash

Free photographs - UnsplashThe photos on Unsplash don’t follow a common theme, but they come in from all corners of the globe. So, you get a wonderful mix in the ten free, hi-resolution (4000+ pixels) photos delivered to your inbox every ten days. Save the images from the site, or subscribe to the email list. The photos are all copyright free (CC Zero) and in the public domain, so use them as you will. Also, check out the complete archive here.

Here’s an example:

Free photographs - Unsplash

The Tumblr blog hosts photos from a variety of contributors and the professional quality says a lot about their expertise and their willingness to give away the photos for free. If you follow the same spirit, you too can give away your best clicks by submitting them here.

Little Visuals

Free photographs - Little Visuals

Seven high-resolution images that arrive in your inbox every seven days – all copyright free. The website from U.K. allows you to use them as you want. The site is very similar to Unsplash, but the details don’t matter here as you get to the images with all the convenience of an email attachment.

Here’s an example:

Free photographs - Little Visuals

You can go to the site and download the ones you like individually. The Zip files are hosted in Dropbox. You can copy it to your own Dropbox account as well for better organization. Do note that each Zip file could be around 70 MB or more. There is a search bar and image tags to help you browse deeper into the collections. The site is relatively new and it is in its 12th week as I write this, so expect the numbers to go up with time.

Gratisography

Free photographs - Gratisography

Subscribe to the email list and receive alerts when this stock photography site showcases new photos. The photos are free of any copyright restrictions and you can use them for any personal or commercial projects. New photos are uploaded weekly; but if you can’t wait that long, head to the site and download the high-resolution images directly.

Here’s an example:

Free photographs - Gratisography

The site is a personal project for Ryan McGuire a “whimsical” visual artist. It is a straightforward site without any categories. The collection is very small because Gratisography is not a stock photography site in that sense of the word.

Picjumbo

Free photographs - Picjumbo

Picjumbo comes to you with one free photo every day. Subscribe to their mailing list. You can use the photos for all commercial and personal creative works. Photos are all high-resolution and around 3000+ pixels. Picjumbo is neatly categorized and the variety on offer from abstract to wedding images should see you narrow it down to the one photo you want. Viktor Hanacek, the creator of the site appreciates an attribution if you use one of the photos here.

The pull of a beautiful visual is strong, and grabbing photos is a second’s work. But do spend a few more seconds to double-check the licenses of any free photo you come across and attribute them to the photographer as per the requirements. You can refer to our primer on Creative Commons licenses What Is Creative Commons, And Should You Use It? What Is Creative Commons, And Should You Use It? Creative Commons is a set of licenses which automatically give you permission to do various things, such as reuse and distribute the content. Let's find out more about it and how to use it. Read More to give the photographer due recognition. A cup of coffee will also do.

Are you constantly on the hunt for good free photographs? Which is your favorite resource? I have shared another good resource with the image credit and the featured image on top of this article. Drop your own links into the comment box below, and try these five sites in your inboxes.

Image Credit: SplitShire.com

  1. Bob
    May 16, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Hi,
    Please also check out http://www.goodfreephotos.com for thousands of unique public domain photos, including many HDR blended photos. I'd appreciate it if you could add it to the list.

    • Saikat B
      May 17, 2014 at 6:11 am

      Looks like a good site for landscape photos. Thanks for the share.

  2. Andrea
    May 13, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Awesome list! Thank you Saikat.

    • Saikat B
      May 14, 2014 at 6:42 am

      Thanks Andrea. Do add new sources if you come across them. More the merrier.

  3. Sarit
    May 4, 2014 at 8:56 am

    This is one of the most helpful posts I've read in a while :) Thanks!

    • Saikat B
      May 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Welcome! The number of such simple photo sharing sites is increasing, so keep an eye on them :)

  4. Janis
    April 29, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks so much. We are redoing our website and I need graphics badly. I appreciate your help!!!

    Janis

    • Kenson
      May 15, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      Also check out the FamFamFam icons. http://famfamfam.com/

    • Saikat B
      May 16, 2014 at 5:16 am

      Thanks for the link Kenson. Pity, they are not updating the site anymore. Graphic design has changed a lot in the last 9 years. Now, it's more minimal and flat.

  5. Janis
    April 28, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Signed up for all of them. Do you know any sites like these for graphics? I would appreciate the help.

    Thanks,

    Janis

  6. Gwen
    April 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you for this resource. I will definitely be sharing it with my tech integration colleagues and teachers.

    • Saikat B
      April 22, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      "Tech Integration"? You must be in elearning or instructional design, Gwen? :)

    • Gwen
      April 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Actually, I work with K-12 teachers in our school district on integrating technology in the classroom. I help them help the students to not only utilize technology, but due so responsibly. Basically, I'm a tech coach :-)

    • Saikat B
      April 25, 2014 at 5:53 am

      Wow. That's a very nice profession to be in these days with so many disruptive changes happening in educational technology. It surely is a challenge as well. Thanks for commenting Gwen.

  7. Anonymous
    April 21, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    But those photos still suck....

    • Saikat B
      April 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      I have found a lot of variety, and we are not paying a dime for it. For freelance bloggers starting out, these are nice resources.

  8. Jonathan J
    April 20, 2014 at 10:35 am

    These really helped me!

    • Saikat B
      April 20, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Great! As a blogger it has been helping me too. We have more direct uses for it in our articles, but I use them to broaden my own understanding of photography. Hope to offer something similar one day. Few others are doing it through Tumblr blogs.

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